Nicotine replacement therapy on the NHS

BMJ 1997; 315 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.315.7119.1381 (Published 22 November 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;315:1381

Nicotine treatment cannot be regarded as replacement therapy

  1. Nick Bradley, General practitioner1
  1. a Ide Lane Surgery, Alphington, Exeter EX2 8UP
  2. b 22 Manor Farm Crescent, Weston Super Mare BS24 9XB

    Editor—The case for nicotine preparations to help smokers stop smoking is strong.1 2 But to describe the prescribing of nicotine as replacement therapy, as Fowler does in his letter, is surely disingenuous.3 It evokes thoughts of hormone replacement therapy—with oestrogen, thyroxine, insulin —and positions nicotine prescribing spuriously in the medical spectrum. This is likely to be counterproductive in a campaign to allow nicotine to be prescribed on the NHS.

    Replacement therapy implies the simple correction, always long term and often permanent, of some naturally occurring pathological deficiency. Nicotine prescribing is very different, more complex, and much less successful. It is …

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